Masahiro Urushido named Altos Bartenders' Bartender at North America's 50 Best

24 May, 2022

Masahiro Urushido of Katana Kitten in New York City has been named the Altos Bartenders' Bartender at the inaugural North America's 50 Best Bars awards.

The award recognises an individual who pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a great bartender and is voted for by the head bartenders at the venues on this year’s list.

“I was surprised, grateful and very honoured to be recognized by my peers,” said Urushido.

“I love my job and feel lucky to be a part of this global community. I want to thank my Katana Kitten team, mentors and my family for all the support to get here.”

Ushido, who grew up in Nagano Prefecture, first trained in fine dining restaurants and bars in his native Japan before landing a job at Kingswood in New York City.

From there, he moved to Saxon + Parole, working alongside Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Jimenez, Naren Young, and Linden Pride.

In 2019, Urushido opened the Japanese-American bar Katana Kitten alongside Greg Boehm and James Tune, in its first year the bar placed number 14 on The World’s 50 Best Bars list and was named Best New Opening.

“Masahiro has built a stellar reputation on two continents, both in his native Japan and his adopted home in the USA,” said Mark Sansom, content director for 50 Best.

“His mixological virtuosity, boundless hospitality and megawatt smile have made him beloved by bartenders and guests around the globe.

“At Katana Kitten, Masahiro and his team created something truly original and exciting by melding the meticulous precision of Ginza bars with the relaxed conviviality of izakaya seen through the lens of a New York neighbourhood bar.

“With legions of fans globally, Masahiro still takes time to make each guest feel celebrated, whether they are regulars, drinks industry stars or just everyday folks. He truly exemplifies what being an Altos Bartenders’ Bartender really means.”

The inaugural edition of North America’s 50 Best Bars will be announced on Tuesday 7 June, the ceremony will also be broadcast to a global audience who are not able to attend in person through The World’s 50 Best Bars Facebook page and 50 Best Bars TV channel on YouTube. 

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.